No one in history has witnessed Jesus in more ways than John. Revelations 1:9-20 illustrates Jesus as He is now, through the eyewitness account of John.
December 8, 2023
Speaker: Steve Anderson
Passage: Revelation 1:9-20
My name is Steve Anderson, and I’m part of the Teaching Team here at Vintage. This morning, I had the privilege of transitioning us in the book of Revelation from chapter one to chapter two. I had some great notes prepared, but I’m going to put those away. Is it okay to be raw and authentic in this place this morning?
I have a past, a present, and a future in my life. My past consists of a troubled kid who was heavy into drugs and alcohol and getting in trouble hanging out with the wrong people. At 18 years of age, I had a revelation: Jesus Christ took over. I saw Him like I had never seen Him before.
I was raised in church. I went to church every Sunday. They weren’t life-giving churches. I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know who this Jesus was. But at 18 years old, I got this revelation of Jesus. I saw Him like I had never seen Him before. I realized this was the person that could change my life.
I said, “I’m going to take a step of faith. I’m going to let that happen.” I went all in for Jesus at age 18. I’m 62 years old now. I have a past, a present, and a future. My past is behind me, and my present is right now. I’m still living for Jesus. I love Jesus, and I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do next in my life. That’s my future.
The book of Revelation is about what was, what is, and what is to come. I want you to close your eyes for just a minute. We’re going to read some scripture out of the book of Revelation. I’m going to read these scriptures to you, and I want you to try to envision what Jesus looks like. Some of you might have this picture of Jesus in your mind. It might be from the Chosen TV series, or it might be from the movie, The Passion of Christ.
You might have an image and a picture of Jesus in your mind, what He looks like, and what He’s about. Maybe it’s the baby in the manger since we’re in the Christmas spirit right now. Close your eyes and listen to the words out of the book of Revelation.
John to the seven churches that are in Asia, said this, “Grace to you and peace from Him, who is and who was and who is to come and from the seven spirits who are before His throne.” In Revelation 1:8, Jesus says about Himself, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'”
That’s what we’re going to talk about today. That’s the message I want to get across to you. There is, was, and is to come about Jesus, just like you have a past, present, and future in your life. There is a past, present, and future to this wonderful Savior called Jesus Christ.
Who He was. He was the baby born in Bethlehem. He was raised as a carpenter’s son. He had a wonderful ministry. He went around healing people and delivering people. Then, He was falsely accused, persecuted, and put to death on the cross. Then, He resurrected from the dead and ascended to Heaven. That’s the Jesus who was.
Then there’s the Jesus who is to come, and we will read about that in Revelation 19 as we get into this book a little bit more down the road. Revelation 19 talks about the Jesus that is to come. He’s riding on a horse. He’s got white hair. He’s got fire in His eyes. He’s coming with vengeance. He’s coming to judge the world. That’s the Jesus that is to come.
What I want to do today is focus on the Jesus who is. The Jesus of today because that’s the Jesus for you and me. Jesus is alive and well and waiting in Heaven to come. Right now, He’s still moving and acting in our lives. He’s still a big part of this life that we’re living. As I was sitting in church last Sunday, God spoke something to me. That’s what I want to share with you today.
Let’s go back and read that scripture. Revelation 1:9-20 says, “I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and Kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, I was on the island called Patmos, because of the Word of God, and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, like the sound of a trumpet. ‘Write, in a book, what you see and send it to the seven churches to Ephesus in Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.’ I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me, and having turned, I saw seven lampstands. And in the middle of the lampstands, one, like the Son of Man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, girded across His breast with a golden girdle, and His head and hair were white, like wool. And like snow, His eyes were like a flame of fire. And His feet were like burnished bronze when it’s been caused to glow in a furnace. And His voice was like the sound of many waters. And in His right hand, He held seven stars. And out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword. And His face was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man. And He laid His right hand on me saying, ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m the first, and I’m the last. I’m the living one. And I was dead. And behold, I am alive, forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades. Write, therefore, the things which you have seen. The things which are and the things which shall take place after these things. As for the mystery of the seven stars, which you saw on My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels or ministers of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.'”
The apostle John wrote this in the book of Revelation. The apostle John was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. No one in human history has experienced Jesus more than John. Nobody’s seen Him physically in more ways than John.
John was a fisherman raised in Capernaum, and Jesus was in Nazareth. They’re not too far apart in the area of Galilee. In Israel, there’s a good chance that they probably had some interaction as youngsters together. Some speculate that John and Jesus may have been first cousins because there’s good evidence that John’s mom and Mary were sisters. If that’s the case, they were first cousins.
It explains why John continues, in His gospel, to refer to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” But John experienced Jesus like no other man. He saw Him on the Mount of Transfiguration. He saw Moses and Elijah come down and meet with Jesus. He saw His ministry. He saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. He saw healings and deliverances. He saw Jesus set the captives free. He’s the only disciple on record in the gospels to be at the crucifixion. He saw Jesus raised from the dead, and he saw Jesus ascend to Heaven. Nobody has seen Jesus in more ways than the apostle John.
But then we see this in Revelation chapter one. Close your eyes again. Close your eyes as I read this and start to imagine and picture Jesus. Forget about everything you thought you knew about Jesus, about how you picture Him to be, and listen to this.
“I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me. And having turned, I saw seven lampstands. And in the middle of the lampstands was one like the Son of Man, clothed in a robe, reaching to the feet. Girded across His breast was a golden girdle. And His head and His hair were white, like white wool, like snow. And His eyes were like a flame of fire. And His feet were like burnished bronze when it had been caused to glow in a furnace. And His voice was like the sound of many waters. And in His right hand, He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword. And His face was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man.”
That’s the Jesus that John saw in his day, the Jesus that is still alive and well today, the Jesus who is, that was, in present time for John in AD 95. That same Jesus that he saw in Revelation chapter one that we just read about, that same Jesus that he saw in AD 95, is the same Jesus that we serve in 2023. That’s the picture that I want you to take from Revelation chapter one. Jesus is alive and well in our lives and in our hearts, and He’s planning what’s next. He’s even sitting next to you.
If He’s standing in the midst of the lampstands, which represent the churches, He’s standing in the midst of this church right now. He’s standing in the midst of Vintage City Church. He’s standing in the midst of all the churches here in Fort Collins that are meeting on this Sunday morning. He’s standing in the midst of all the churches in northern Colorado, in the state of Colorado, the United States, and all over the world.
He may not be in agreement with everything that’s going on in those churches. We’ll get to that in Revelation two and three when He starts talking to the seven churches. Some of the churches are good, some of the churches not so much.
Can we all be honest with ourselves and say, “That’s how it is with my individual life sometimes?” Can we all agree that there’s no such thing as a perfect church? I’ve been part of churches where I carried wounds. But Jesus was very specific with me. He told me, you be the healer of that situation. You make sure you’re a blessing and not a curse. You make sure you walk in forgiveness.
We all carry stuff with us. We’ve all been wounded and hurt. But sometimes, we have to lay it down. Nothing’s perfect in this world. But Jesus is perfect. We get the picture of perfect in Revelation chapter one. I want the Jesus pictured here to permeate your soul. I want that Jesus to be right in front of you. That’s the man. He was on the cross. But they took him off that cross, and He resurrected from the dead, and He’s alive and well and living in glory and majesty. That’s the Jesus that’s going to be coming back. That’s the Jesus that is to come.
But the Jesus who is is the one that standing in the midst of the churches. What is it that you need today? Do you want your life redeemed? You might need healing. Some of you need your joy restored, your marriages restored. Some of you are sitting here listening to me saying, “I hear what you’re saying. But I can’t grab a hold of this. I can’t take that next step.”
I get it. I’ve been there. I want you to know that when you take that step, He’s right there with you. It’s going to be a step of faith. It’s going to be a step that you’re going to walk into–something that you’ve never experienced before. It’s going to change and transform your life. There is nothing like the glory and the majesty of Jesus Christ that can change and transform a situation. That glory and majesty were so powerful in front of John that he fell down at His feet like a dead man. That power and glory were so magnificent on the road to Damascus that Saul of Tarsus fell down at His feet and was raised up a new man, the apostle Paul, who gave us half the New Testament, changed the Church, and changed the world.
When the power and the glory of Jesus Christ are revealed to you in a supernatural way, you have no choice but to fall down at His feet like a dead man. That’s the fear of the Lord. That’s the authentic fear of the Lord that Pastor Greg was talking about a few weeks ago. When you get that, watch out, grab a hold, and buckle up buttercup. It’s going to be a ride like you’ve never experienced before.
We are getting ready to move into Revelation chapters two and three, where Jesus is talking to the churches. We’re going to start with the Church of Ephesus. It was a great church. Timothy was the head pastor and lead bishop of the Church of Ephesus. The Apostle John’s home church before he got carried off into prison on Patmos was the church at Ephesus. It’s a great church.
I want to encourage you over the next couple of weeks to spend time in your Bible. Read Revelation two and three about all of the seven churches. Start with the church at Ephesus. You’re going to see things in there that Jesus is proud of. But there are also some things where He says, I want to point my finger at that, and I need to deal with that. There’s a love issue there that I want to deal with.
As you’re reading Revelation two, paying attention to the letter to the church at Ephesus, I want you to do a couple of things. I want you to go back and read Paul’s letter to Timothy in Second Timothy, his last letter before he was killed. Timothy was the pastor at Ephesus. Ephesus was going through persecution. Paul writes this incredible letter to Timothy to comfort him and encourage him as he tries to pastor and lead this church.
Read Revelation two, and then go read Second Timothy. Listen to what Paul is saying. It’s very similar to what Jesus is saying to the church. Then go and read Matthew chapter 24. The disciples wanted to know, what are going to be the signs of your coming? What should we be looking for? He’s talking about the last days. Revelation chapters two and three are the only recorded words of Jesus to the church. The rest of the words from Jesus and the gospels were His ministry time to the Jewish people in Israel. His only words to the church are in Revelation two and three.
In Matthew chapter 24, He’s talking about the last days, and He brings up the love issue. Go read those things. I’m not going to go through those things right now. I want you guys to do it. I want you guys to understand this book Revelation is exactly that. It’s a revelation. It’s a great reveal. It’s about what’s to come. But it’s not just about that. It’s about who was and is and who is to come.
I want you to hear Jesus’ words as He’s talking about the disappearance of love during the last days. We look around at what’s going on in our world right now. It’s mind-boggling. It is. People ask me, “Do you think we’re in the last days?” I don’t know, but it sure feels like it.
Get with the Lord. Get this vision of Jesus. He’s sitting up there in power and glory and majesty. All power, all glory, all dominion, all of it, Lord, is yours. That’s who you are. Whatever your situation is right now, Jesus who is can take care of it. If you’ll just say, “Lord, take care of it.”
If it’s a healing or deliverance, if you need to be saved, if you’ve never asked Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior, today’s your day because He’s giving you the faith right now to believe. It’s not about works. You can’t work your way to Heaven. It’s only by grace and faith that you’re saved.
Right now, Jesus is speaking to you personally. He saved you and me. Some of you might be ready to jump up on your feet and say, “That’s me. Let’s do it.” Let’s do it. Anybody raise your hand.
This is the Jesus who is. I don’t want you to leave this room with regrets. God bless you. I’m going to say this one thing. In the book of Romans, Paul says that if you confess with your heart that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Do you believe that? That’s it.
God is good all the time. Eternity was just changed. Destinies changed like that. Because the Holy Spirit speaks and people react to it. As you leave this place today, know that God has continued to speak to you in Revelation two and three. You’re going to hear this phrase a lot, “He who has an ear to hear, let him hear” what the Spirit is saying to the churches. “He who has an ear to hear let him hear” what He is saying to me. Right here, right now. Lord, what do you say right now?
I’m going to be obedient to it. I’m going to act on it. I’m going to step out in faith like these people did right now. Your lives have been changed forever. I want to encourage you to hang around good people. If this isn’t your church–this is a great church–there are lots of great churches, but make sure you’re in church and make sure they preach this. This is the Word of God. It’s true. It’s living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Make sure you get into a Bible-believing church, make sure you get a Bible, start reading it, and let the word of God penetrate you. Let it change you and transform you. That’s what it’s all about. Then get ready. He’s going to have you doing things that are going to blow your mind. You’re going to say, “I don’t want to do that. But I feel I need to.” A lot of lot of cool things can happen out of that.
I love it when God shows up, messes the furniture around a little bit, and disrupts things. Let’s stand to our feet.
Heavenly Father, we thank You so much for what You’re doing, especially in these people that have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and rededicated their lives. Lord, I pray right now for anybody who didn’t stand and didn’t take that step. You can do it right now. They don’t need to do that. It helps, but You can speak to them right now. Move them right now. Continue to change and transform lives, continue to change and transform marriages, and continue to bring healing and deliverance where it’s needed in this place. Lord, I ask You to engage these people and send them out of here to do the work of the Kingdom. I pray this in Jesus’ name.
Everyone said, amen. God bless you guys.
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